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European stocks hit new record for first time in two years as Nvidia sparks semiconductor rally

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European stocks were on course for a new record high for the first time in more than two years as the semiconductor sector got a fresh leg up from Nvidia’s sparkling results.

The STOXX Europe 600 index
XX:SXXP,
which represents a continent-wide list of the bigger stocks, at one point in morning trade Thursday was up 1% to 495.81, in line to surpass the previous record close of 494.35 hit on January 5, 2022.

News overnight that U.S. AI-chipmaker Nvidia
NVDA,
-2.85%

had blown past lofty earnings expectations has triggered another bout of buying in Europe’s tech sector.

One of the biggest gainers was Netherlands-based BE Semiconductor Industries
BESI,
+14.55%
,
a maker of semiconductor assembly equipment, whose shares jumped 17% as it also reported a boost from AI demand.

Similarly, the Dutch-listed shares of ASML
ASML,
-0.15%
,
one of the biggest chip equipment makers in the world, rose 4%, while Paris-listed chipmaker STMicroelectronics
STMPA,
+3.13%

climbed 4%, and its Frankfurt-listed peer Infineon Technologies
IFX,
+3.01%

added 4%.

Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40
FR:PX1
have been in record territory for a while, with the Paris bourse providing propulsion via its big bevy of popular luxury goods groups such as LVMH
MC,
+0.10%

and Kering
KER,
+0.44%
.

A more immediate lift was coming on Thursday from German automobile groups, with Mercedes-Benz
MBG,
+4.63%

shares up nearly 5% and leading the sector’s charge after it raised its dividend and expanded its buyback program.

Other stocks lifting the index on Thursday, included London-listed drug maker Indivior
INDV,
+20.28%
,
which surged 20% after it swung to a fourth-quarter pretax profit and said it is considering moving its primary listing to the U.S. in 2024.

Rolls-Royce
RR,
+8.59%

shares jumped 7% to a record high after the aerospace and defense company delivered results that beat expectations.

However, weighing on the SXXP were shares of Nestle
NESN,
-4.04%
,
which fell more than 4% after the world’s biggest food company gave downbeat sales forecasts.

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